President Donald Trump
says the total termination of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran
is “a very real possibility.”
Speaking to reporters ahead of meeting with his cabinet on Monday, Trump said, “I feel strongly about what I did. I’m tired of being taken advantage of.”
“It might be total termination, that’s a real possibility, some would say that’s a greater possibility,” he added.
The comment came days after Trump announced he would not re-certify the international accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Under US law, the president is required to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement every 90 days. Trump has done so twice since taking office, albeit reluctantly.
In refusing to certify the accord for a third time, Trump has passed the buck to Congress to decide whether to restore sanctions on Iran, which were lifted in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit its nuclear program.
At his White House speech on Friday, Trump also threatened that he would terminate the JCPOA if Congress and American allies failed to change the deal in significant ways.
Congress has a 60-day review window to decide the next move.
Trump’s new strategy has riled up US allies in Europe who have reiterated their firm commitment to the Iran deal.
EU ministers have warned that canceling the nuclear accord when Iran’s commitment has repeatedly been certified would send a signal to North Korea that negotiating over its nuclear program is a waste of time.
Many administration officials scrambled to defend Trump’s Iran strategy in Sunday news
shows, saying the US would stay in the nuclear accord at least for now.
Trump has been desperately trying to undo the agreement, which restricts his ability to pursue harsher policies against the Islamic Republic.
Following the cabinet meeting, Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.